The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 07, 2011 8:29 am

While Thich Nhat Hanh is not seen very favorably by some here, these 14 precepts are of interest:

The Fourteen Precepts
of the Order of Interbeing
The First Mindfulness Training: Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help us learn to look deeply and to develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for.

The Second Mindfulness Training: Nonattachment to Views
Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We shall learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to others' insights and experiences. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

The Third Mindfulness Training: Freedom of Thought
Aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our views on others, we are committed not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever--such as authority, threat, money, propaganda or indoctrination--to adopt our views. We will respect the right of others to be different and to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness through compassionate dialogue.

The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Awareness of Suffering
Aware that looking deeply at the nature of suffering can help us develop compassion and find ways out of suffering, we are determined not to avoid or close our eyes before suffering. We are committed to finding ways, including personal contact, images, and sounds, to be with those who suffer, so we can understand their situation deeply and help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace, and joy.

The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Simple, Healthy Living
Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom, and compassion, and not in wealth and fame, we are determined not to take as the aim of our life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. We are committed to living simply and sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those in need. We will practice mindful consuming, not using alcohol, drugs, or any other products that brings toxins into our own and the collective body and consciousness.

The Sixth Mindfulness Training: Dealing with Anger
Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, we are determined to take care of the energy of anger when it arises and to recognize and transform the seeds of anger that lie deep in our consciousness. When anger comes up, we are determined not to do or say anything, but to practice mindful breathing or mindful walking and acknowledge, embrace, and look deeply into our anger. We will learn to look with the eyes of compassion at those we think are the cause of our anger.

The Seventh Mindfulness Training: Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment
Aware that life is available only in the present moment and that it is possible to live happily in the here and now, we are committed to training ourselves to live deeply each moment of our daily life. We will not be carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future, or craving, anger or jealousy in the present. We are determined to learn the art of mindful living by touching seeds of joy, peace, love, and understanding in ourselves, thus facilitating the work of transformation and healing in our consciousness.

The Eighth Mindfulness Training: Community and Communication
Aware that the lack of communication always brings separation and suffering, we are committed to training ourselves in the practice of compassionate listening and loving speech. We will learn to listen deeply without judging or reacting and refrain from uttering words that can create discord or cause the community to break. We will make every effort to keep communications open and to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech
Aware that words can create suffering or happiness, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully and constructively, using only words that inspire hope and confidence. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will not spread news that we do not know to be certain nor criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten our safety.

The Tenth Mindfulness Training: Protecting the Sangha
Aware that the essence and aim of a Sangha is the practice of understanding and compassion, we are determined not to use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit or transform our community into a political instrument. A spiritual community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

The Eleventh Mindfulness Training: Right Livelihood
Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to our environment and society, we are committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans or nature. We will do our best to select a livelihood that helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion. Aware of global economic, political and social realities, we will behave responsibly as consumers and as citizens, not investing in companies that deprive others of their chance to live.

The Twelfth Mindfulness Training: Reverence for Life
Aware that much suffering is caused by war and conflict, we are determined to cultivate nonviolence, understanding, and compassion in our daily lives, to promote peace education, mindful meditation, and reconciliation within families, communities, nations, and in the world. We are determined not to kill and not to let others kill. We will diligently practice deep looking with our Sangha to discover better ways to protect life and prevent war.

The Thirteenth Mindfulness Training: Generosity
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, we are committed to cultivating lovingkindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. We will practice generosity by sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. We are determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. We will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.

The Fourteenth Mindfulness Training: Right Conduct (For lay members):
Aware that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness but will create more suffering, frustration, and isolation, we are determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding, love, and a long-term commitment. In sexual relations, we must be aware of future suffering that may be caused. We know that to preserve the happiness of ourselves and others, we must respect the rights and commitments of ourselves and others. We will do everything in our power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. We will treat our bodies with respect and preserve our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal. We will be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world, and will meditate on the world into which we are bringing new beings
.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Ben » Sat May 07, 2011 10:09 am

Hi Tilt
What in particular do you find of interest in Thich Nhat Hanh's 14 precepts?
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 07, 2011 12:30 pm

Greetings,

It just sounds like yet another list the Buddha never came up with... ala the paramitas, only longer.

The things he talks about are fine in and of themselves, but what's wrong the Buddha's teaching that Thich Nhat Hanh has to create a 14-fold path of his own?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby bodom » Sat May 07, 2011 12:55 pm

I have a great deal of gratitude to Thich Nhat Hahn. He was my introduction to Buddhism. He simplified everything for a beginner like myself who only wanted to LIVE the teachings, and was not so concerned with all the doctrinal aspects of Buddhism. If it was not for him I would have never found my way home to the Theravada. My understanding is that he created [emphasized] these 14 mindfulness trainings for his Engaged Buddhism movement. None of them go against any of the teachings of the Buddha and are not meant to replace the Eight Fold Path. Different teachers emphasize different aspects of the Buddhadhamma, Nhat Hahn chose these particular fourteen.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat May 07, 2011 2:05 pm

bodom wrote:I have a great deal of gratitude to Thich Nhat Hahn. He was my introduction to Buddhism. He simplified everything for a beginner like myself who only wanted to LIVE the teachings, and was not so concerned with all the doctrinal aspects of Buddhism. If it was not for him I would have never found my way home to the Theravada. My understanding is that he created [emphasized] these 14 mindfulness trainings for his Engaged Buddhism movement. None of them go against any of the teachings of the Buddha and are not meant to replace the Eight Fold Path. Different teachers emphasize different aspects of the Buddhadhamma, Nhat Hahn chose these particular fourteen.

:anjali:


Well said, Bodom. :)
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 08, 2011 7:06 am

Ben wrote:Hi Tilt
What in particular do you find of interest in Thich Nhat Hanh's 14 precepts?
While I am not a big fan of TNH, I like these "precepts" in that they draw out, rather nicely, aspects of the Buddha's teachings that deserve consideration.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby LastLegend » Sun May 08, 2011 7:26 am

He said to detach in many different ways and specifically suggesting some methods to do so.
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Pacific » Tue May 10, 2011 5:48 am

bodom wrote:I have a great deal of gratitude to Thich Nhat Hahn. He was my introduction to Buddhism. He simplified everything for a beginner like myself who only wanted to LIVE the teachings, and was not so concerned with all the doctrinal aspects of Buddhism. If it was not for him I would have never found my way home to the Theravada. My understanding is that he created [emphasized] these 14 mindfulness trainings for his Engaged Buddhism movement. None of them go against any of the teachings of the Buddha and are not meant to replace the Eight Fold Path. Different teachers emphasize different aspects of the Buddhadhamma, Nhat Hahn chose these particular fourteen.

:anjali:


Yeah. For me it's actually the same and I practiced with a group of his for some time before moving on to Theravada. I find the 14 precepts relevant and useful. no need to diss them just for not being directly from the Buddha I reckon
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Sylvester » Wed May 11, 2011 9:18 am

Hmmm, this -

The First Mindfulness Training: Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help us learn to look deeply and to develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for.


looks like the Pali Canon's admonition against idamsaccabhinivesa gantha (the fetter of dogmatism), found in a few places like DN 33.
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby tiltbillings » Wed May 11, 2011 9:25 am

Sylvester wrote:Hmmm, this -

The First Mindfulness Training: Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help us learn to look deeply and to develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for.


looks like the Pali Canon's admonition against idamsaccabhinivesa gantha (the fetter of dogmatism), found in a few places like DN 33.
Yes. These 14 "precepts" are an interesting, if not useful, expression of the Dhamma.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Sylvester » Wed May 11, 2011 9:28 am

More rafts to be abandoned, at the appropriate time...
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby tiltbillings » Wed May 11, 2011 9:36 am

Sylvester wrote:More rafts to be abandoned, at the appropriate time...
One certainly does not want to get rid of the raft too early, only to be washed away for by one's delusions, and certainly one should not get obsessed by the mechanics of the raft and thereby not making any effort to go forward and taking pride in one's handiwork, but there certainly does need to be a balance that allows for a well constructed raft that will allow for ongoing modifications during one's journey. Always the middle way.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby encinitas » Wed May 11, 2011 2:22 pm

Frostbite Falls...whoa...
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Dan74 » Thu May 12, 2011 12:40 am

When new to Dhamma many of us embrace our specific path to strict exclusion of everything else. This often comes with an aversion or dismissal of other schools, other paths. But I found that more weathered practitioners don't share this attitude and will readily recognize the Dhamma elsewhere, as well as taking useful teachings where they find them.

We have a thread on Goldstein and Kornfield, two Theravada teachers who have found wisdom in other Buddhist schools. Here in Australia, we have a Zen teacher who is also a Vipassana teacher http://www.subhana.com.au/about/. This is not everyone's path, but I think it is a valid path. Just like sticking to one school is also a valid path. I hope we all nourish a healthy respect for this while not suppressing genuine questioning and critique.
_/|\_
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby alan » Thu May 12, 2011 3:46 am

Actually when I started I looked at everything. Why not?
I'm surprised to hear that anyone would just be convinced right off the bat. Doesn't seem very reasonable, does it?
I've read TNH, and just about everyone else, too. Generally reading around is good when you are getting started--at least in the old days before Dhamma Wheel!
"Old Path, White Clouds" was a milestone in my nascent practice. Ok, laugh if you want, but this inspired me to get into the Suttas. For that if nothing else I thank him.
As for the 14 points, most of them make perfect sense in the real world, for most people, most of the time.
We can have debates about his positions--He's too "Zen" for me on some points--I would argue against the interbeing idea--as would most of us, I presume. But that is best left for a different discussion, at another time.
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby christopher::: » Thu May 12, 2011 6:09 am

Thanks for posting these, Tilt. I think to many of us these sound like familiar ideas, just a modern restating of basic Dhamma principles. But for practitioners in Vietnam they're extremely challenging ideas, the talk of openness and freedom in thought especially has been quite threatening. The communist government sees TNH as a trouble-maker and took action against his sangha Bat Nha a few years ago. He's basically like the Dalai Lama now, living in exile, unwelcome back home...

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri May 13, 2011 1:06 am

Dan74 wrote:We have a thread on Goldstein and Kornfield, two Theravada teachers who have found wisdom in other Buddhist schools. Here in Australia, we have a Zen teacher who is also a Vipassana teacher http://www.subhana.com.au/about/. This is not everyone's path, but I think it is a valid path. Just like sticking to one school is also a valid path. I hope we all nourish a healthy respect for this while not suppressing genuine questioning and critique.


If one reads enough forum threads, one may come to the conclusion that every teacher out there has strayed grievously from the true Way. Kornfield is criticized for pop Buddhism. But wait, his critics are feeding their students dangerous adhamma. Thich Nhat Hanh mangles the Pali Canon. Bhikkhu Bodhi misinterprets Mahayana. There's no one to trust!

I find this somewhat disconcerting. On the other hand, this might all add up to a healthy dialectical process out of which, gradually and sometimes painfully, a better understanding evolves.
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Nyana » Fri May 13, 2011 1:36 am

Lazy_eye wrote:There's no one to trust!

I find this somewhat disconcerting. On the other hand, this might all add up to a healthy dialectical process out of which, gradually and sometimes painfully, a better understanding evolves.

Yes, understanding which is not dependent on others. Gnosis and vision which is individually known (paccatta veditabba).

    Looking into the world
    I see alone a chrysanthemum,
    Lonely loneliness,
    And death approaches.
    Abandoned by guru and friend,
    I stand like the lonely juniper
    Which grows among rocks,
    Hardened and tough.
    Loneliness is my habit—
    I grew up in loneliness.
    Like a rhinoceros
    Loneliness is my companion—
    I converse with myself.
    Yet sometimes also
    Lonely moon,
    Sad and Happy
    Come together.

    Do not trust.
    If you trust you are in
    Others hands.
    It is like the single yak
    That defeats the wolves.
    Herds panic and in trying to flee
    Are attacked.
    Remaining in solitude
    You can never be defeated.
    Do not trust,
    Trust is surrendering oneself.
    Never, never trust.

    But be friendly,
    By being friendly towards others,
    You increase your non-trusting.
    The idea is to be independent,
    Not involved.
    Not glued, one might say, to others.
    Thus one becomes ever more
    Compassionate and friendly.
    Whatever happens, stand on your own feet
    And memorize this incantation:
    Do not trust.

    —Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

And by all means, do not trust Trungpa.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby alan » Fri May 13, 2011 3:50 am

Nana goes ironic. Sweet!
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Re: The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat May 14, 2011 12:16 am

Geoff,

Thank you for this.

LE
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